Video: Alaska patrol car dodges falling light pole

Dash cam shows the pole toppling from the right and crashing onto the highway

By Dan Joling
Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An Anchorage police officer's patrol car nearly got smashed by a light pole that was knocked off its base by another driver.

The incident was captured Tuesday by Officer Rick Dykstra's dashboard video camera. The department released the video Wednesday. It shows the pole toppling from the right and crashing onto the highway.

The officer was unable to avoid running over the pole.

"You're like, `Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, don't hit. And then it's just, bloop, like a speed bump," said department spokeswoman Anita Shell.

Anchorage''s first snow Sunday and Monday was blamed for more than 250 reported accidents. Fresh snow and an ice continued to make driving hazardous Tuesday morning.

Dykstra was on patrol just after 6 a.m. on the Glenn Highway south of Eagle River, about 200 yards behind a pickup driven by 30-year-old Dale Cooper.

Police said Cooper lost control of the pickup, slid across several lanes of traffic, entered the ditch on the north side of the highway and sheared off the pole. The pickup flipped onto its roof.

Dykstra was pulling over to assist Cooper when the pole descended in front of him. Dykstra continued to the shoulder and hurried to Cooper, who may have blacked out, Shell said. The driver was unable to extract himself from the truck.

"He had been hanging upside down in the vehicle, couldn't get himself disconnected," Shell said. "When the officer made contact with him, he actually had to climb into the overturned vehicle, get him detached form the seat belt, pull him out."

Medics transported Cooper to a hospital and reported his injuries did not appear to be life-threatening. No citations were issued.

Despite running over the pole, Dykstra's patrol car was not damaged.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press

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